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Dance Theatre Of Harlem

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Guest NuAnointingDancer

Does anyone here know of a dancer named Andrea Long. She is a principal dancer at the Dance Theatre of Harlem one one of my favorites! :unsure:

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Yea I know her, she used to dance with NYCB about 7 or 8 years ago and then left to go to Harlem. I don't really remember her dancing but I know she wasn't the most popular at NYCB. Thats great that you love her, she's on the cover of the new discount dance catalog.

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bellepoele 5, When you say Andrea Long "wasn't the most popular at NYCB," are you talking about within the company (not that I want to get into gossip) or with the audience? My impression is she was quite an audience favorite. She was the token female African-American corps member -- the one chronologically between Debra Austin and Aesha Ash. (If I've left one out, I hope someone will correct me.)

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Regarding the posts about Andrea Long. I have only seen her on the cover of Discount Dance catalog. I am more interested in what you mean by the token African-American Female? Is that to imply that there can be only one African-American female in a company like NYCB or ABT. If that is so, then I am disheartened and discouraged. My daughter is 12 and has been studying ballet for 6 years and very much wants to be a professional dancer - and ballet is her preference. I have noticed that out here on Long Island they seem to discount any African-Americans as not having the correct body type, or just having no talent, etc. It seems we disappear into the background. I too have danced, as has my mother before me, and we seem to be in the minority (no pun intended) in ballet classes.

This is truely a sad state of affairs if the only opportunities for African-American Females exisit in only 2 companies in NY - Ailey and DTH.

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I was reporting my observations as an audience member -- not implying any policy on the part of NYCB. For years now, it's seemed there's been just one female African-American there (although I might have missed some). Happily, the situation is better among the men. There are some half-dozen in the corps, and, of course, principal dancer Albert Evans. Perhaps the women may catch up. But it's difficult when they keep leaving -- Debra Austin, Andrea Long, and now Aesha Ash. In going to dance for Maurice Bejart, Ash is following in the footsteps of Suzanne Farrell. I hope that, like Suzanne, she'll come back one day better than ever.

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I am curious as to why it is that no african-american female dancers have ever been promoted above corp members at NYCB? Does anybody have any ideas?

I was trying to recall if Balanchine made any roles on any african-american girls and the only ones I can think of are a featured role for Mary Hinkson in The Figure In The Carpet back in the early sixties and Debra Austin as one of the four soloist in Ballo Della Regina. At least she danced it in the video, I'm assuming it was made on her. Are there any others?

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I just remembered, I think Mr. B made dances for Katherine Dunham for a broadway show in the 1930's called Cabin in the Sky.

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Maybe they keep leaving because the opportunities are just not there, or maybe they do get treated differently than the other company members.

I think that there are more African-American men because men in general are scarce. And maybe something is better than nothing.

We think we've come so far in terms of being liberal and it seems in some things we haven't progressed at all. :shrug:

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Yes, Debra Austin was in the original cast of Ballo, along with Bonita Borne, Stephanie Saland, and Sheryl Ware, along with the principals Merrill Ashley and Robert Weiss. The choreography for Cabin in the Sky (1940) was officially credited to "George Balanchine in collaboration with Katherine Dunham."

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It's always good to discuss these issues, but I wanted to put up a link to past discussions -- Feel free to either add to those comments and revive the thread, or read what's of interest and continue posting about it here.

Miinorities in Ballet

Black Dancers

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Another black dancer in the NYCB corps was Myrna Kamara. She danced for a few years and then left for Miami City Ballet, where she danced solo roles.

I'm not sure that the paucity of black females in NYCB is the result of prejudice -- as Farrell Fan said, there have been many black males in the company from the start, and Arthur Mitchell was one of the first black principals in a major American company.

Balanchine gave Debra Austin many solo roles, some of which (especially Divertimento #15) I found her unsuited for. Long and Kamara didn't stand out for me; it's not that I thought they were bad, just that they didn't seem any worthier of bigger roles than the other corps girls. I liked Ash, but didn't see enough of her to judge whether she had soloist potential.

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I just meant that from what I had heard, I don't mean to gossip, she wasn't popular with the company but I do remember seeing her dance a lot with NYCB in corps roles yes. Unfortunately I do agree with what everyone has said that there seems to only ever be a single token black female in the corps at NYCB at a time. But who knows it appears that Peter Martins is changing the company around a lot lately from an audience member. SO maybe things will be different soon. But I do with what everyone has said and NYCB will surely miss Aesha. :D

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Am I correct in my memory of Cynthia Lochard, another of the few African-American females at NYCB? Certainly none of the women have risen above the corps, whether or not that is blatant racism, there is certainly something going on when a dancer the calibre of Aesha Ash is allowed to slip away.

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Guest hit-5th

there are alot of new talented people in DTH. i am very excited to see this season

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